Monday, September 26, 2016

Flanck 2.0

12mm Tactile switches, Smaller than the last one

This is smaller than the previous mini Planck. The switches are as close together as possible without rotating them.

Typing is still horrible. There is a 2 week lead time for the PCB. I created and ordered this one while waiting for the first version to arrive. Probably wouldn't have made this version if I had already tried the first one.

I found some smaller key caps that come in more colors. The WS2812B LEDs are a strip of 10 stuck to the bottom PCB and connected to the Pro Micro with wires.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Planck RGB sub PCB

WS2812B PCB for Planck

  • 0.6mm thick PCB
  • 144per meter WS2812B LED strip cut into individual pieces
  • Holes in PCB for the posts in the OLKB Planck milled bottom
  • 17 (MIT) or 18 (GRID) LEDs
  • Works with Zealio, Translucent Gateron or Matias clear switches
I had previously used a piece of cardstock with the 12x4 grid printed on it. Stuck the self adhesive LEDs to the card and used wire to connect the LEDs back into a strip. This PCB just makes things neater and easier to repair when one of the LEDs die. You can print your own paper grid from this.

It fits in the current version milled bottom and the previous. It also fits in the formed metal bottom.

Unfortunately there is not enough depth in the milled bottom to assemble this with a stock plate. I have a custom 3mm acrylic plate that raises it 1.5mm higher than the stock steel plate. This is enough for the LEDs to fit underneath. The formed metal bottom has lots of space without modification.

The USB port makes it difficult to get the plate into the base. You have to angle the board and hook the USB port into the cutout. The posts/cutouts in the PCB catch on each other with the thicker plate. I had to grind down a little of the Planck PCB to make it fit.

Using a 1.5mm spacer with the stock plate works, but there is the problem that the screw posts now do not reach the bottom of the plate. If you screw them down too hard you will probably warp the plate. I tried using washers on top of the posts to fill the gap but they were impossible to keep in place.

You can't go thicker than 1.5mm. The USB connector hits the top of the cutout in the base.

Matias and Zealio switches work the best since they have clear plastic bodies. The translucent white Gaterons work ok, but not nearly as bright.



Translucent Gateron

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Dual Controller, Dual Matrix

GNAP with Dual Pro Micro's

  • Reactive LED
  • Dual 16Mhz Pro Micros
  • Laser cut wood case
  • TMK firmware

The first Pro Micro is running TMK, the second is running an Arduino script controlling the LEDs. They are connected together through the hardware serial ports. The LED matrix is connected the LEDs in the same pattern as the keyboard matrix to the second Pro Micro. All of the code is in the github repo. The Pro Micro running TMK was flashed with the LUFA mass storage bootloader to make flashing easier. The other Pro Micro has the stock Arduino bootloader for automatic flashing from within the Arduino environment.
Video example of the different effects in the Arduino sketch. The scan direction allows for a max of 4 LEDs on at the same time. A single AtMega32U4 pin can handle 40mA. Resistors were chosen to draw about 10mA each.


The Pro Micro's are socketed. I used the pins from 1n4148 diodes. A dip socket was used to hold everything in place while soldering. A piece of kapton tape is between the pro micro and the socket. This is to keep the solder from flowing down the pin into the socket.
The case was designed using Swill's case builder. It was cut at Ponoko. A short pigtail made from a cut up USB cable is used for the external USB connection.
 The next PCB version will have a mini USB connector soldered to the PCB.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Planck LED Desklamp

  • $10 Planck Rev 2 PCB
  • 5mm high brightness LEDs
  • 300 Ohm resistors
  • Cheap phone stand
Soldered 300 ohm resistors in parallel to the 470 ohm resistors to bring down the effective resistance and increase the current draw of the LEDs.

Planning to add either a PIR or ultrasonic sensor so that it will automatically dim itself.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mini Planck

Tactile Omron switches

  • 12mm Omron tactile switches
  • 180 gram fake ones from eBay (Yellow)
  • 130 gram real ones from Mouser (Cream)
  • Arduino Pro Micro
  • QMK firmware 
  • LUFA Mass Storage Bootloader
  • Cheap ABS keycaps from eBay
Wanted to make a smaller Planck. The only reasonably easy to obtain switches in a smaller size are these 12mm tactile switches. Metal dome construction. Loud click. Typing on these are horrible. The pressure required for the 180 gram is more than any Cherry switch. The 130 gram is much less. The switch travel is less than 1mm. They would make a nice macro pad or maybe used on a game pad, but not good for touch typing.

The cheap fake yellow Omron's are supposed to be 180 gram according to Omron, but since they are fake, no idea what they really are. They are definitely much harder to press than the 130 gram ones from Mouser. The genuine Omron from Mouser are rated for 3 million cycles. They also have a high reliability version rated for 10 million cycles.

Two styles of keycaps available for these. Round circular caps and square re-legendable ones. The fake Omron switches allow the stem to rotate and the square keycaps were always crooked. The real Omron ones allow for very little twist.

PCB's were made at Two PCB's used in a sandwich with 5mm spacers. The Pro Micro is soldered to the bottom of the top board. The bottom PCB is just for support.

Very basic 4x12 matrix..

Compared to a Planck it is very thin and slightly smaller.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

GNAP! Handwired

Handwired 40%

  • Similar to Planck MIT layout
  • 47 keys
  • Minimum amount of row stagger
  • Teensy 2.0
  • Gateron Black/Clear modifier row 
  • Laser cut wood case
  • QMK firmware
  • WS2812B LED strip
Somewhere between ortholinear and standard offset. Created this to have all the same functions I have gotten use to with my Planck in a keyboard that has a more conventional keyboard row stagger. This is running the same keymap I use on my Planck.

Comparison to other 40% row stagger: